The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse

Mac Barnett, Author

Jon Klassen, Illustrator

Candlewick, Fiction, Oct. 10, 2017

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Animals, Humor, Cooperation,

Opening: Early one morning, a mouse met a wolf, and he was quickly gobbled up.

Publisher Synopsis: When a woeful mouse is swallowed by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs, and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice in there, with delicious food and elegant table settings, courtesy of the wolf’s unchecked gluttony. And there’s something even better: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! In fact, life is pretty good, until a hunter shows up. . . . With a nod to traditional fables and a wink to the reader, the award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen offer a tale of cooperation and creative cuisine that is sure to go down easy.

Why I like this story:

Have you ever wondered why wolves howl at the moon? Mac Barnett and John Klassen’s modern-day fable offers an answer in their quirky tale that is filled with dark and outrageous humor. The old-fashioned fairy tale language, “Oh woe is me,” and “Oh shame,” adds drama and charm to the storytelling.

Mouse meets Duck in the wolf’s belly and quickly discovers it is a home of sorts. Says Duck, “I live well! I may have been swallowed, but I have no intention of being eaten.” So the two create a kind of ruckus that make’s the wolf’s tummy ache and manage to get all the food and items they need to live high on the hog.  Readers will laugh out loud at their shenanigans and feel sorry for the gullible wolf.  When a hunter shoots at the wolf, the mouse and duck save the wolf’s life in a very unconventional way.

Klassen’s trademark sepia-toned mixed-media artwork perfectly suits Barnett’s story. There are a lot of details to explore both inside and outside of the wolf, and they add to the humor of the story. The expressive illustrations are priceless. Visit Mac Barnett’s website and Jon Klassen’s website to see illustrations from the book.

Mac Barnett is the author of three books illustrated by Jon Klassen: Extra Yarn, which won a Caldecott Honor and a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award; Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, which won a Caldecott Honor and an E. B. White Award; and Triangle. With Jory John, he is the co-author of the New York Times best-selling series The Terrible Two.

Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book; This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal; and We Found a Hat. He also illustrated two Caldecott Honor Books, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn, as well as Triangle, all written by Mac Barnett.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

Barn Raising – Amish

Barn Raising

Craig Brown, author and illustrator

Harper Collins Publishers, 2002

Suitable for:  Ages 5 and up

Themes:  Amish Lifestyle, Community, Cooperation, Generosity, Neighbors

Opening/Synopsis:  “After the fire there was no place on Jacob’s farm to keep animals.  A neighbor made space for them in his barn.”  Lightning strikes the family barn and a generous Amish community arrives to help Jacob’s father clear the land so that a new barn can be built.  Friends and neighbors arrive from all over the county to help raise a new barn in one day.   The women come with a feast of food to feed the workers.

What I like about this book:  Craig Brown has written and illustrated a heartwarming story about how the Amish community comes together to help a neighbor in need.   Brown’s illustrations are rich and detailed, depicting each stage of the barn raising.   His illustrations are also expressive and emotive.  You feel the strong bond between neighbors and friends.  This is a beautiful story to introduce children to the Amish culture and talk about how neighbors support each other during times of trouble.  In his larger illustrations of the barn raising, Brown includes close-up inserts which make you feel like you are helping.  There is a page at the back of the book that gives more detail about Barn Raisings and the preparation required.  This also is an excellent book for children interested in building and constructing.  Check out Craig Brown’s  fun website and view the books he’s written.   He’s known to school kids as “Farmer Brown.”  I had the opportunity of meeting Craig Brown at the Southampton Children’s Literature Conference this summer.